Data Shows Hormone Replacement Therapy Harmful

A new report is reiterating the fact that women receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT), rather than having a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as was previously presumed, are actually at increased risk.

Dr. John A. Blakely, MD, of the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, notes that the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study, a large randomized trial, observed a 1.4% first year excess of coronary events, which is well beyond the plausible play of chance.

Over the duration of the study, event totals were similar, but patients treated with HRT experienced them earlier.

“Since patients in the trial were preselected for satisfactory adherence to therapy, the net benefit in practice is likely to be even less,” concludes Dr. Blakely.

He also notes that a previous review of prior studies (meta-analysis) also found harmful effects of HRT.

“Women with or at high risk of coronary heart disease should not start HRT,” Dr. Blakely concludes, adding that there is the additional “risk that women without coronary heart disease might experience even greater net harm from HRT,” as well.

Archives of Internal Medicine October 23, 2000;160:2897-2900